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Thou orderest it that they may see Thyself.
Thou art of all things origin and end,
O Lord of all men; Father of angels, thou
Easily bearest all things without toil,
Thou art thyself the way and leader too,
Of every one that lives, and the pure place
That the way leads to : all men from this soil
Throughout the breadth of being, yearn to Thee.

Alfred here expands twenty-eight lines of Boethius into a magnificent psalm, worthy of the Christian poet and philosopher. In all this, how strangely in advance, not only of his own age, but positively of ours! Religion and learning, poetical expression, and pure moral feeling,-every excellence is here we will not attempt.

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
Or add a perfume to the violet.

Let Alfred, through our earnestly attempted faithfulness, speak for himself. The translation is literal,

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Well,- ye children of men in mid earth!

Every freeman should seek till he find That, which I spake of, good endless in worth ;

These, which I sing of, the joys of the mind. Let him who is narrow'd and prison'd away

By love of this middle earth empty and vain, Seek out for himself full freedom today,

That soul feeding joys he may quickly attain. For, such of all toil is the only one goal,

For sea-weary keels hythe-haven from woes, The great quiet dwelling that harbours the soul

Still calm in the storm, and from strife a repose. That is the peace-place, and comfort alone

Of all that are harm’d by the troubles of life, A place very pleasant and winsome to own

After this turmoil of sorrow and strife.

But right well I wot that no treasnre of gold

Nor borders of gemstone, nor silvery store, Nor all of earth's wealth the mind's sight can unfold

Or better its sharpness true joys to explore : But rather, make blind in the breast of each man

The eyes of his mind than make ever more bright, For, sorry and fleeting as fast as they can

Are all who in this flitting earth can delight.

Yet wondrous the beauty and brightness is seen

Of that which hath brighten'd and beautified all
So long as on this middle earth they have been,

And afterward happily holds them in thrall.
For the Ruler he wills not that soul should be nought,

Himself will enlighten it Lord of life given !
If any man then with the eyes of his thought

May see the clear brightness of light from high heaven,
Then will he say that the blaze of the sun

Is darkness itself to the glory so bright
Which Great God Almighty shines out on each one

Of souls of the happy for ever in light.

Scarcely a single word of Alfred is to be found in Boethius : and the ode is in fact an independent poem. It is charming to take note how constantly our Christian King is looking forward to his heavenly inheritance. To the writer it has been true and deep delight thus to fill the mind with the pure philosophy of Alfred, and then to let his homilies flow out into these new shapes : as it were, gold, melted anew in an earthen crucible, and poured out into the popular moulds of modern metres. May this work be in its measure for good ! Alfred, in his free paraphrase of the more Horatian Boethius, and in the very few other fragments that remain to us of that first rate Head and Heart, is so full of Christian wisdom, moral beauty, excellent learning, piety, and power, that some small service cannot but be done to Good and Truth, by the publication of these Metres.


Quisquis profunda mente vestigat verum,

- Cupitque nullis ille deviis falli.

Se the æfter rihte
Mid gerece,
Wille inweardlice
жfter spyrian,

Swa deoplice,
That hit todrifan ne mæg
Monna rnig ;
Ne amerran huru










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Ænig eorthlic thinog i He ærest sceal Secan on him selfum, That he sume hwile Ymbutan hine Æror sohte; Sece that siththan On his sefan innan; And forlæte an, Swa he oftost mæge, Ælcne ymbhogan Thy him unnet sie ; And gesamnige, Swa he swithost mæge, Ealle to thæm anum, His ingethonc. Gesecge his mod, That hit mæg findan, Eall on him innan, Thæt hit oftost nu, Ymbutan hit Ealneg seceth, Gooda æghwylc. He ongit siththan Yfel and unnet, Eal that he hæfde On his incofan, Æror lange; Efne swa sweotole, Swa he on tha sunnan mæg Eagum and weardum Onlocian. And hi eac ongit His ingethonc Leohtre and berhtre, Thonne se leoma sie Sunnan on sumera, Thonne swegles gim, Hador heofon-tungol, Hlutrost scineth. Forthæm thæs Jichoman Leahtras and hefignes And tha untheawas, Eallunga ne magon Of mode ation Monna ænegum, Rihtwisnesse. Theah nu rinca hwæm, Thæsilichoman, Leahtras and hefignes And untheawas Oft bysigen Monna mod-sefan, Mæst and swithost Mid thære yflan Oforgiotolnesse ; Mid gedwol-miste Dreorigne sefan Fortith mod foran Monna gehwelces, Thæt hit swa beohte ne mot

Blican and scinan, Swa hit wolde gif Hit geweald ahte. Theah bith sum corn Sædes gehealden Symle on thære saule Sothfæstnesse, Thenden gadertang wunath Gast on lice. Thæs sædes corn Bith simle aweaht Mid ascunga, Eac siththan, Mid goodre lare, Gif hit growan sceal. Hu mæg ænig man Andsware findan Thinga æniges, Thegen mid gesceade, Theah hine rinca hwile Rihtwislice Æfter frigne, Gif he awuht nafath On his mod-sefan, Mycles ne lytles Rihtwisnesses, Ne geradscipes? Nis theah ænig man That te ealles swa Thæs geradscipes Swa bereafod sie, Thæt he ands ware Ænige ne cunne Findan on ferhthe, Gif he frugnen bith. Forthæm hit is riht spell, Thæt us reahte gio, Eald uthwita Ure Platon ; He cwæth thæt te æghwilc' Ungemyndig Rihtwisnesse, Hine hræthe sceolde Eft gewendan Into sinum Modes gemynde: He mæg siththan. On his run-cofan Rihtwisnesse Pindan on ferhte, Faste gehydde Mid gedræfnesse Dogora geh wilce, Modes sines, Mæst and swithost; And mid hefinesse His lichoman; And mid thæm bisgum, The on breostum styreth Mon on mode Mæla gehwylce.














The man that after right with care

Will inwardly and deeply dive,
So that none earthly thing may scare

Nor him from such good seeking drive,
First in himself he shall find out

That which beyond he somewhile sought,
Within his mind must search about
And leave behind each troublous thought;



This at the soonest, as he may,

Such care were harm to him and sin; Then let him haste and hide away

To this alone, his Mind within. Say to this mind, that it may find

What oftest now it seeks around, All in, and to, itself assign’d

Every good that can be found; He then will see that all he had

In his mind's chamber thought and done, Was evil long afore and bad,

Clearly as he can see the sun : But his own mind he shall see there

Lighter and brighter than the ray Of heaven's star, the gem of air,

The sun in clearest summer day. For that the body's lusts and crimes

And all its heaviness in kind Utterly may not any times

Wipe out right wisdom from man's mind : Though now in every man such wrong,

Those lusts and crimes and fleshly weight, Worry the mind both loud and strong

And make it half forget its state. And though the mist of lies may

shade Man's dreary thought that it be dull And be no more so bright array'd

An if 'twere pure and powerful, Yet always is some seed-corn held

Of sturdy truth within the soul, While flesh and ghost together weld,

And make one fixt and gather'd whole.
This seed-corn waxes evermore,

By much asking quickened so,
As well as by good wholesome lore,

That it quickly learns to grow.

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